Real ID

Looking to get a REAL ID? You'll soon need an appointment to do so in Illinois

The deadline to get a REAL ID was moved to May 7, 2025 following numerous pandemic-related extensions.

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While a REAL ID won't be required to fly domestically until the spring of 2025, if you have yet to get one, it might be a good idea to do so sooner than later.

Even though you still have plenty of time, it's important to note that starting Sept. 1, the process for obtaining a REAL ID will look slightly different in Illinois. Under a new initiative led by Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias' office, appointments will be required for services at 44 of the states busiest DMVs. Only one Chicago-area facility, the location at State and Randolph in the Loop, will continue to permit walk-ins.

In an effort to lessen wait times, Giannoulias last month announced the Skip-the-Line program, which will require appointments for those seeking a REAL ID, driver's licenses and in-car driving tests, according to the secretary of state's website. The program also extends hours of operation at all statewide DMVs -- with facilities being open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. A total of 16 DMVs will also be open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The deadline to get a REAL ID was extended in December of 2022 following numerous pandemic-related extensions. The deadline had previously been set for May 3, 2023, but was moved to May 7, 2025, the Department of Homeland Security previously said.

Once the new deadline is reached, however, anyone 18 years old and above will be required to present a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or identification card to fly domestically or visit a federal facility. Designated by a star and surrounding gold circle, REAL IDs are being issued in all 50 states.

But officials say not everyone needs a REAL ID. A valid U.S. passport is also a compliant REAL ID document, according to state officials, and can be used to fly domestically after the deadline.

Unlike regular driver's licenses, REAL IDs cannot currently be applied for online.

To apply for a REAL ID, Illinois residents must visit a DMV facility and provide documents that prove their identity, their Social Security number, a written signature and two documents that show proof of residency.

The following are acceptable documents to prove identity:

  • Birth certificate
  • U.S. passport
  • Foreign passport with U.S. visa affixed with approved Form I-94 document
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad
  • Certificate of Citizenship
  • Certificate of Naturalization
  • Employment Authorization Document
  • Permanent Resident Card

To provide proof of their Social Security number, residents can show their Social Security card or a W-2. A pay stub with a Social Security number on it will also be accepted.

Illinois residents will also need to show at least two proofs of residency. Those can include the following: bank statement, canceled check, school transcript, credit card statement, mortgage or rental agreement, insurance policy, pay stub, retirement statement, report card, utility bill and voter registration card.

After providing those documents, residents will receive a temporary paper ID at the facility (although residents are reminded that the TSA will NOT accept the paper ID), and will receive their new ID in the mail within 15 business days.

For a proof of signature, residents can present a credit or debit card, a canceled check, a current Illinois driver’s license or ID, a court order, a foreign passport, a Medicare card or a U.S. military ID.

For a complete list of acceptable documents, click here.

A REAL ID card costs the same as a driver’s license ($30) or a state ID ($20).

Illinois residents can use an interactive checklist to make sure they have the documents necessary to apply.

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